Presidential Memorandum — Transforming our Nation’s Electric Grid Through Improved Siting, Permitting, and Review
Our Nation’s electric transmission grid is the backbone of our economy, a key factor in future economic growth, and a critical component of our energy security. Countries that harness the power of clean, renewable energy will be best positioned to thrive in the global economy while protecting the environment and increasing prosperity. In order to ensure the growth of America’s clean energy economy and improve energy security, we must modernize and expand our electric transmission grid. Modernizing our grid will improve energy reliability and resiliency, allowing us to minimize power outages and manage cyber-security threats. By diversifying power sources and reducing congestion, a modernized grid will also create cost savings for consumers and spur economic growth.
Modernizing our Nation’s electric transmission grid requires improvements in how transmission lines are sited, permitted, and reviewed. As part of our efforts to improve the performance of Federal siting, permitting, and review processes for infrastructure development, my Administration created a Rapid Response Team for Transmission (RRTT), a collaborative effort involving nine different executive departments and agencies (agencies), which is working to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of transmission siting, permitting, and review, increase interagency coordination and transparency, and increase the predictability of the siting, permitting, and review processes. In furtherance of Executive Order 13604 of March 22, 2012 (Improving Performance of Federal Permitting and Review of Infrastructure Projects), this memorandum builds upon the work of the RRTT to improve the Federal siting, permitting, and review processes for transmission projects. Because a single project may cross multiple governmental jurisdictions over hundreds of miles, robust collaboration among Federal, State, local, and tribal governments must be a critical component of this effort.
Source: White House
A combination of American entrepreneurship and innovation, private investment, and smart policy has positioned the United States as the global leader in wireless broadband technologies. Expanding the availability of spectrum for innovative and flexible commercial uses, including for broadband services, will further promote our Nation’s economic development by providing citizens and businesses with greater speed and availability of coverage, encourage further development of cutting-edge wireless technologies, applications, and services, and help reduce usage charges for households and businesses. We must continue to make additional spectrum available as promptly as possible for the benefit of consumers and businesses. At the same time, we must ensure that Federal, State, local, tribal, and territorial governments are able to maintain mission critical capabilities that depend on spectrum today, as well as effectively and efficiently meet future requirements.
Source: White House (Council of Economic Advisors)
The Economic Report of the President is an annual report written by the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers. An important vehicle for presenting the Administration’s domestic and international economic policies, it provides an overview of the nation’s economic progress with text and extensive data appendices.
FACT SHEET: President Obama Applauds Commitments to Raise Awareness and Increase Understanding of Mental Health at White House Conference
Source: White House
Today, at the National Conference on Mental Health, the President applauded the dozens of commitments made by organizations representing media, educators, health care providers, faith communities, and foundations to increase understanding and awareness of mental health.
The Obama Administration has taken a number of steps to raise awareness and improve care for Americans experiencing mental health issues, including expanding mental health coverage for millions of Americans through the Affordable Care Act, improving access to mental health services for veterans and supporting initiatives to help educators recognize and refer students who show signs of mental illness.
The National Conference on Mental Health is designed to increase understanding and awareness of mental health. As part of this effort, today the Administration is launching mentalhealth.gov, a new, consumer-friendly website with clear and concise tools to help with the basics of mental health, the signs of mental illness, how to talk about mental health, and how to get help. The website also includes a series of videos featuring celebrities and ordinary Americans whose lives have been touched by mental illness.
Source: White House
The Obama Administration’s inaugural National Drug Control Strategy, published in 2010, charted a new course in our efforts to reduce illicit drug use and its consequences in the United States—an approach that rejects the false choice between an enforcement-centric “war on drugs” and drug legalization. Science has shown that drug addiction is not a moral failing but rather a disease of the brain that can be prevented and treated. Informed by this basic understanding, the 2010, 2011 and 2012 Strategies established and promoted a balance of evidence-based public health and safety initiatives focusing on key areas such as substance abuse prevention, treatment, and recovery.
The 2013 National Drug Control Strategy, released on April 24, builds on the foundation laid down by the Administration’s previous three Strategies and serves as the Nation’s blueprint for reducing drug use and its consequences. Continuing our collaborative, balanced, and science-based approach, the new Strategy provides a review of the progress we have made over the past four years. It also looks ahead to our continuing efforts to reform, rebalance, and renew our national drug control policy to address the public health and safety challenges of the 21st century.
New GAO Reports and Testimony
Source: Government Accountability Office
1. Office of National Drug Control Policy: Office Could Better Identify Opportunities to Increase Program Coordination. GAO-13-333, March 26.
2. Air Force Electronic Systems Center: Reorganization Resulted in Workforce Reassignments at Hanscom Air Force Base, but Other Possible Effects Are Not Yet Known. GAO-13-366, April 25.
3. Explosive Ordnance Disposal: DOD Needs Better Resource Planning and Joint Guidance to Manage the Capability. GAO-13-385, April 25.
4. Internal Revenue Service: 2013 Tax Filing Season Performance to Date and Budget Data. GAO-13-541R, April 15.
1. Federal Real Property: Excess and Underutilized Property Is an Ongoing Challenge, by David Wise, director, physical infrastructure, before the Subcommittee on Government Operations, House committee on Oversight and Government Reform. GAO-13-573T, April 25.
Source: White House
The Obama Administration is committed to the proposition that citizens deserve easy access to the results of scientific research their tax dollars have paid for. That’s why, in a policy memorandum released today, OSTP Director John Holdren has directed Federal agencies with more than $100M in R&D expenditures to develop plans to make the published results of federally funded research freely available to the public within one year of publication and requiring researchers to better account for and manage the digital data resulting from federally funded scientific research. OSTP has been looking into this issue for some time, soliciting broad public input on multiple occasions and convening an interagency working group to develop a policy. The final policy reflects substantial inputs from scientists and scientific organizations, publishers, members of Congress, and other members of the public—over 65 thousand of whom recently signed a We the People petition asking for expanded public access to the results of taxpayer-funded research.
Source: White House/U.S. Department of Education
College Scorecards in the U.S. Department of Education’s College Affordability and Transparency Center make it easier for you to search for a college that is a good fit for you. You can use the College Scorecard to find out more about a college’s affordability and value so you can make more informed decisions about which college to attend.
To start, enter the name of a college of interest to you or select factors that are important in your college search. You can find scorecards for colleges based on factors such as programs or majors offered, location, and enrollment size.
Source: White House
The speech was 2,137 words long and took 15 minutes to deliver.
Now is the Time: The President’s plan to protect our children and our communities by reducing gun violence
Source: White House
Our nation has suffered too much at the hands of dangerous people who use guns to commit horrific acts of violence. As President Obama said following the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, “We won’t be able to stop every violent act, but if there is even one thing that we can do to prevent any of these events, we have a deep obligation, all of us, to try.”
Most gun owners are responsible and law-abiding, and they use their guns safely. The President strongly believes that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. But to better protect our children and our communities from tragic mass shootings like those in Newtown, Aurora, Oak Creek, and Tucson, there are four common-sense steps we can take right now.
The President’s Plan includes:
1. Closing background check loopholes to keep guns out of dangerous hands;
2. Banning military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and taking other common-sense steps to reduce gun violence;
3. Making schools safer; and
4. Increasing access to mental health services.
While no law or set of laws will end gun violence, it is clear that the American people want action. If even one child’s life can be saved, then we need to act. Now is the time to do the right thing for our children, our communities, and the country we love.
Source: White House
Below is a link to the President’s plan for how the Federal Government will responsibly share and safeguard information that enhances national security and protects the safety of the American people. You can read the plan “National Strategy for Information Sharing and Safeguarding” here:
National security depends on our ability to share the right information, with the right people, at the right time. Anchored on the 2010 National Security Strategy, the NSISS provides guidance for more effective integration and implementation of policies, processes, standards, and technologies that promote secure and responsible national security information sharing.
OMB Report Pursuant to the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012 (PDF)
Source: Office of Management and Budget (White House)
The Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012 (STA) (P.L. 112-155) requires the President to submit to Congress a report on the potential sequestration triggered by the failure of the Joint Select Committee on Deicit Reduction to propose, and Congress to enact, a plan to re duce the deicit by $1.2 trillion, as required by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA). In re sponse, the Ofice of Management and Budget (OMB) is issuing this report based on assump tions required by the STA. The report provides Congress with a breakdown of exempt and non-exempt budget accounts, an estimate of the funding reductions that would be required across non-exempt accounts, an explanation of the calculations in the report, and additional information on the potential implementation of the sequestration.
In August 2011, bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate voted for the threat of sequestration as a mechanism to force Congress to act on further deicit reduction. The specter of harmful across-the-board cuts to defense and nondefense programs was intended to drive both sides to compromise. The sequestration itself was never intended to be imple mented. The Administration strongly believes that sequestration is bad policy, and that Con gress can and should take action to avoid it by passing a comprehensive and balanced deicit reduction package.
As the Administration has made clear, no amount of planning can mitigate the effect of these cuts. Sequestration is a blunt and indiscriminate instrument. It is not the respon sible way for our Nation to achieve deicit reduction. The President has already presented two proposals for balanced and comprehensive deicit reduction. It is time for Congress to act. Members of Congress should work together to produce a balanced plan that achieves at least the level of deicit reduction agreed to in the BCA that the President can sign to avoid sequestration. The Administration stands ready to work with Congress to get the job done.
The estimates and classiications in the report are preliminary. If the sequestration were to occur, the actual results would differ based on changes in law and ongoing legal, budgetary, and technical analysis. However, the report leaves no question that the sequestration would be deeply destructive to national security, domestic investments, and core government func tions. Under the assumptions required by the STA, the sequestration would result in a 9.4 percent reduction in non-exempt defense discretionary funding and an 8.2 percent reduction in non-exempt nondefense discretionary funding. The sequestration would also impose cuts of 2.0 percent to Medicare, 7.6 percent to other non-exempt nondefense mandatory programs, and 10.0 percent to non-exempt defense mandatory programs.
An America Built to Last: PRESIDENT OBAMA’S AGENDA AND THE HISPANIC COMMUNITY (PDF)
Source: White House
Latinos will continue to drive the growth of the labor force in the coming decades – as they will account for 60 percent of the Nation’s population growth between 2005 and 2050 – so how Latinos recover from this recession is of both immediate and long-term importance to our economy. However, according to the Pew Research Center, these same families also experienced a 66 percent decline in median wealth from 2005 to 2009.
Over the last three and a half years since taking office, the President and his Administration have worked to lay the groundwork for an America that is built to last, stopping the free-fall of the economy and working to restore the middle class. Every issue the President and this Administration take on is of vital importance to the Latino community: from promoting job creation, to making sure that every American has access to quality health care, to reforms that strengthen education for all Americans, to fighting for comprehensive immigration reform while standing up for the civil rights of all Americans.
To this end, the President has taken a series of steps to spur economic growth, put Americans back to work, and restore middle class security. As a result, over the last 29 months 4.5 million private sector jobs have been created putting Americans back to work and restoring economic security to Latino families struggling because of the economic crisis. And while still unacceptably high, the Hispanic unemployment has dropped to 10.3 percent from a high of more than 13 percent.
Source: White House
Preventing mass atrocities and genocide is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States. Our security is affected when masses of civilians are slaughtered, refugees flow across borders, and murderers wreak havoc on regional stability and livelihoods. America’s reputation suffers, and our ability to bring about change is constrained, when we are perceived as idle in the face of mass atrocities and genocide. Unfortunately, history has taught us that our pursuit of a world where states do not systematically slaughter civilians will not come to fruition without concerted and coordinated effort.
President Obama and Vice President Biden’s 2011 Tax ReturnsSource: White House
Today, the President released his 2011 federal income and gift tax returns. He and the First Lady filed their income tax returns jointly and reported adjusted gross income of $789,674. About half of the first family’s income is the President’s salary; the other half is from sales proceeds of the President’s books. The Obamas paid $162,074 in total tax.
The President and First Lady also reported donating $172,130 – or about 22% of their adjusted gross income – to 39 different charities. The largest reported gift to charity was a $117,130 contribution to the Fisher House Foundation. The President is donating the after-tax proceeds from his children’s book to Fisher House, a scholarship fund for children of fallen and disabled soldiers.
The Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden also released their 2011 federal income tax returns, as well as state income tax returns for both Delaware and Virginia. The Bidens filed joint federal and combined Delaware income tax returns. Dr. Biden filed a separate non-resident tax return for the state of Virginia. Together, they reported adjusted gross income of $379,035. The Bidens paid $87,900 in total federal tax for 2011. They paid $13,843 in Delaware income tax and $3,614 in Virginia income tax. The Bidens contributed $5,540 to charity in 2011.
The Buffett Rule: A Basic Principle of Tax Fairness (PDF)Source: White House
The Buffett Rule is the basic principle that no household making over $1 million annually should pay a smaller share of their income in taxes than middle-class families pay. Warren Buffett has famously stated that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary, but as this report documents this situation is not uncommon. This situation is the result of decades of the tax system being tilted in favor of high-income households at the expense of the middle class. Not only is this unfair, it can also be economically inefficient by providing opportunities for tax planning and distorting decisions. The President has proposed the Buffett Rule as a basic rule of tax fairness that should be met in tax reform. To achieve this principle, the President has proposed that no millionaire pay less than 30 percent of their income in taxes.
New Report: Affordable Care Act Gives Americans More Security, Better Benefits
Source: White House
The White House today released a new report highlighting the benefits of the Affordable Care Act. The report discusses how the Affordable Care Act has improved the health care system for millions of Americans and includes stories of Americans who have been helped by the law.
“Today, two years after we passed health care reform, more young adults have insurance, more seniors are saving money on their prescription drugs, and more Americans can rest easy knowing they won’t be dropped from their insurance plans if they get sick,” said President Obama. “The law has made a difference for millions of Americans, and over time, it will help give even more working and middle-class families the security they deserve.”
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act:
- 2.5 million more young adults have health insurance on their parent’s plan.
- 5.1 million people with Medicare saved an average of $635 on the cost of their prescription drugs. And everyone on Medicare can get preventive services like mammograms for free.
- Insurance companies must spend at least 80 percent of your premium dollars on health care and not overhead and cannot raise your premiums by 10 percent or more with no accountability.
- It is illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage to children because of a pre-existing condition. And in 2014, discriminating against anyone with a pre-existing condition will be illegal.
+ Full Report (PDF)
FACT SHEET: Obama Administration Commitment to American Made Energy
Source: White House
Today, President Obama highlighted his Administration’s focus on a sustained, all-of-the-above approach to developing American energy, which has included doubling renewable electricity generation, increasing oil and gas production on federal lands and waters, and reducing our reliance on foreign oil, most notably through the historic fuel economy standards the President has established, which will nearly double the efficiency of the vehicles we drive and save families $1.7 trillion at the pump. As part of the President’s comprehensive strategy for a secure energy future, he will outline the steps his Administration is taking to promote the development of necessary infrastructure and accelerate the pace of innovation of clean and cost-effective alternatives to traditional fuels.
FACT SHEET: President Obama Announces New Steps to Provide Housing Relief to Veterans and Servicemembers and Help More Responsible Homeowners Refinance
In his State of the Union address, President Obama laid out a Blueprint for an America Built to Last, calling for action to help responsible borrowers and support a housing market recovery. While the government cannot fix the housing market on its own, the President believes that responsible homeowners should not have to sit and wait for the market to hit bottom to get relief when there are measures at hand that can make a meaningful difference.
Today, the President is announcing two steps the Administration is taking to support homeowners and their families – providing relief for servicemembers and veterans, including those wrongfully foreclosed upon or denied a lower interest rate on their mortgages, and reducing fees for FHA borrowers looking to refinance. Along with the President’s broader plan to help millions of Americans refinance and save thousands of dollars a year, support the communities hardest-hit by the housing crisis, and help families avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes, this is part of the President’s overall strategy to support responsible homeowners and the housing recovery.
Presidential Memorandum — Proposed Revised Habitat for the Spotted Owl: Minimizing Regulatory Burdens
Today, compelled by court order, the Department of the Interior (Department) proposed critical habitat for the northern spotted owl. The proposal is an initial step in gathering important information that will inform a final decision on what areas should be designated as critical habitat for the spotted owl, based on a full evaluation of all key criteria: the relevant science, economic considerations, the impact on national security, and a balancing of other factors.
Executive Order 13563 of January 18, 2011 (Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review), explicitly states that our “regulatory system must protect public health, welfare, safety, and our environment while promoting economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation” (emphasis added). Consistent with this mandate, Executive Order 13563 requires agencies to tailor “regulations to impose the least burden on society, consistent with obtaining regulatory objectives” (emphasis added). Executive Order 13563 also requires agencies to “identify and consider regulatory approaches that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice” while selecting “those approaches that maximize net benefits.” To the extent permitted by law, our regulatory system must respect these requirements.